Guitar International Editor In Chief
Canadian rock music has long made a big impact on the international music scene.From Neil Young to Rush to Our Lady Peace and even Nickelback, the Great White North has produced some of thegenre’s most unique voices, artists that fit firmly in the modern rock genre, but that remain truly Canadian at heart. Mixing rock, country, blues and folk influences, many Canadian rock artists have been able to “break America,” reaching the vast audiences of their Southern neighbors, but other songwriters have managed to carve out a successful career, producing lasting musical contributions in the process, without ever having to go south of the 49th parallel. Singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Eddie Carrigan is just such an artist. Though born and raised in Scotland before moving toCanada, the talented artist has yet to “crack” the U.S. music scene. Carrigan’s album, The Mission Bell, aims to shine a brighter light on the talented musician’s work, and with such a strong result,the album is sure to bring wider, and much deserved,attention to this Scottish-Canadian gem.
One of the things that allow Carrigan’s music to stand out among the crowded Indie-Rock marketplace is his ability to bring in other instruments from outside the normal spectrum at just the right time, lifting what would have been a good song to the realm of greatness. A good example of this is the song “BlackRain.” Here, Carrigan has written a catchy song, with meaningful lyrics and a solid chord progression,but it is the “extras” that really bring the song to life. By adding the slide guitar melody at the beginning of the song, the piano groove that propels the song forward and the background strings with their echoing melody behind the vocal line, Carrigan is not only showcasing his world-class musicianship and musicality, but he is going that extra mile for his listeners, one that audience members will no doubt appreciate as it lifts the level of their learning experience many fold.
There is also a strong message in Carrigan’s music, in the same sense as Bruce Cockburn, Sting and Leonard Cohen bring meaning to their songs through lyrical storytelling. One of the strongest songs on the album is “Soldiers.”Here, Carrigan has written a song that is not only lyrically powerful, but that has a wonderful melodic and harmonic hook to it, combing both words and sound in a way that grips the listener’s attention from the opening notes, carrying them along the song’s musical journey until the last notes ring out into the silence. The song possesses some of Carrigan’s strongest guitar work on the album, as both a rhythm and lead player. His palm-muted, arpeggiated lines that back the vocals are the perfect accompaniment for this track, and his lead lines,though subtle, are highly melodic and come across as growing out of the song, rather than being inserted into the song, as is the case with other, similar artists.
The Mission Bell is a solid outing for Carrigan, one that deserves to be held up next to the biggest namesin the genre. The songs are craftily penned, creatively arranged and powerfully performed by a top-notch artist, everything that a record needs to be successful in a day and age when listeners are flooded with new music on a daily basis. Only time will tell if Carrigan will receive the international acclaim, outside of the U.K. and Canada, which he deserves, but regardless of where his life’s journey leads him, this album is a testament to the talent and hard work that permeates Carrigan’s musical output.